His Dark Materials | Study Guide

Philip Pullman

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His Dark Materials | Characters

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Character Description
Lyra Belacqua Lyra Belacqua is a headstrong 11-year-old and the heroine of the His Dark Materials trilogy. She is unaware that a prophecy has identified her as "the second Eve," making her a key figure in a war between the kingdom of the Authority, the god of her world, and the rebels lead by her father, Lord Asriel. Read More
Will Parry Will Parry is a 12-year-old boy from our own world, introduced in The Subtle Knife. He becomes Lyra Belacqua's partner, protector, and best friend when the two accidentally find themselves in the same parallel world. He is also the chosen bearer of the subtle knife, a tool that can be used to cut through the fabric between worlds. Read More
Lord Asriel An explorer and a warrior, Lord Asriel appears in only a few chapters of The Golden Compass but is a powerful presence throughout the trilogy. He intends to lead armies from multiple worlds to overthrow the Authority and break the oppressive rule of the Church. Read More
Mrs. Marisa Coulter Mrs. Marisa Coulter, brilliant, beautiful, and ambitious, is the personification of evil through most of the trilogy. She heads the Oblation Board, a group that is investigating Dust, which the Church believes corrupts children when they reach puberty. To do her research, she and the Board are willing to abduct and sacrifice children in their experiments. Read More
Mary Malone A scientist and former nun, Mary becomes Lyra Belacqua's friend and protector in The Subtle Knife. She is also the "tempter" who will coax Lyra to take the steps toward the wisdom and maturity she will need to fulfill her role as "the second Eve." Read More
Lee Scoresby A "Texan" and a balloonist, Lee Scoresby is recruited by the gyptians to help Lyra Belacqua free the children at Bolvangar. He continues to protect her throughout the series, even after his death. Read More
Angelica Angelica, introduced in The Subtle Knife, is one of the orphaned children Lyra Belacqua meets in Cittàgazze, and she is sister to Paolo and Tullio.
The Authority The god of the Church in Lyra Belacqua's world, the Authority has been tyrannical and cruel throughout his time in power. Unseen throughout most of the series, he is revealed in The Amber Spyglass to have been only the first and strongest of the angels and not a god at all, although he convinced those that followed him he was their creator. Wiser beings eventually rebelled against him but were overcome. Lord Asriel is planning a second heavenly war to unseat him, unaware that the Authority has become a weak, demented shell of himself.
Balthamos Balthamos is an angel who first appears in The Amber Spyglass, sent to guide Will Parry to Lord Asriel. He is deeply in love with his companion angel, Baruch.
Baruch Sent with his companion Balthamos to guide Will Parry to Lord Asriel at the beginning of The Amber Spyglass, Baruch is killed while delivering important information to Lord Asriel.
Lord Boreal Living in Will Parry's world as Charles Latrom, Lord Boreal is actually from Lyra Belacqua's world and a colleague of Mrs. Marisa Coulter. He seeks the subtle knife but is ultimately poisoned by Mrs. Marisa Coulter in The Amber Spyglass.
Iorek Byrnison Iorek Byrnison is the rightful king of the armored bears, exiled after he is tricked into killing another bear. He later becomes Lyra Belacqua's dear friend and protector, helping her throughout the series, and she, in turn, helps him win back his throne.
Farder Coram Farder Coram is a wise gyptian who is John Faa's adviser and was once the lover of Serafina Pekkala. He provides wise counsel during the rescue of the abducted children in The Golden Compass.
Billy Costa A friend of Lyra Belacqua, Billy Costa is a gyptian boy whose abduction in the first book prompts his community to try to save him and the other children at Bolvangar.
Ma Costa Ma Costa, whom readers meet in The Golden Compass, is the abducted Billy Costa's mother; she also raised Lyra Belacqua when she was a child.
John Faa John Faa is the powerful king of the western gyptians who leads his people to rescue the children at Bolvangar in The Golden Compass and brings Lyra Belacqua back to her world at the end of the series.
Father Gomez Father Gomez is the assassin sent by Father MacPhail to kill Lyra Belacqua in The Golden Compass.
Master of Jordan College Head of Jordan College, the Master watched over Lyra Belacqua after Lord Asriel put the child in his care. He appears briefly at the beginning and end of the series.
Father MacPhail The head of the Consistorial Court of Discipline, Father MacPhail plays a key role in The Amber Spyglass. He is determined to kill Lyra Belacqua and eliminate Dust, even if he has to sacrifice himself and the Church to do so.
Metatron When the Authority becomes too weak to rule, he transfers his power to his regent, Metatron, who may be even more vicious and malevolent than his predecessor. Will Parry and Lyra Belacqua first learn of him in The Amber Spyglass.
Mulefa The mulefa are a race of intelligent beings whom Mary Malone meets in The Amber Spyglass and who ask Mary's help in unlocking the mysteries of the vanishing Dust.
Pantalaimon Pantalaimon is Lyra Belacqua's daemon, the physical manifestation of her soul. He represents her more mature self throughout the series.
Giacomo Paradisi Giacomo Paradisi is the present bearer of the subtle knife whom Will Parry and Lyra Belacqua rescue from Tullio in The Subtle Knife. He passes the tool on to Will Parry and teaches him how to use it.
John Parry John Parry is Will Parry's father, who had suspected the existence of other worlds and accidentally found his way into one. There he took on the name Stanislaus Grumman, becoming an explorer and later a shaman, or wise man. Although both Parry and Grumman are mentioned throughout the series, the character doesn't appear until The Amber Spyglass.
Paolo Paolo, whom Lyra Belacqua meets in The Subtle Knife, is one of the orphaned children of Cittàgazze, brother to Angelica and Tullio.
Serafina Pekkala Queen of the Lake Enara clan of witches, Serafina Pekkala becomes Will Parry and Lyra Belacqua's guardian. She and her witches help them throughout their journey and eventually support Lord Asriel in his war.
Iofur Raknison Iofur Raknison is the false king of the armored bears who steals the throne from Iorek Byrnison by deceit but is then overthrown in The Golden Compass.
Fra Pavel Rašek A member of the Consistorial Court of Discipline, Fra Pavel is a competent, though slow, reader of the alethiometer.
Roger Roger is a kitchen boy from Jordan College and Lyra Belacqua's best friend, abducted by the Oblation Board at the beginning of the series. Lyra Belacqua rescues him from Bolvangar but then inadvertently delivers him to Lord Asriel, who sacrifices him to open a bridge to another world. Lyra eventually rescues Roger from the land of the dead in the last book of the trilogy.
Lord Roke Lord Roke is head of the Gallivespian spies, key supporters of Lord Asriel in The Amber Spyglass.
Lady Salmakia Lady Salmakia is one of Lord Asriel's tiny Gallivespian spies, first appearing in The Amber Spyglass.
Jotham Santelia Jotham Santelia is a prisoner in Svalbard in The Golden Compass who seems to have gone mad but whose words make sense.
Ruta Skadi Queen of the Latvian witches, Ruta Skadi is one of the first to realize that the witches need to support Lord Asriel.
Specters Specters are hideous beings that feed off the souls of living adults, leaving them no more than lifeless shells.
Chevalier Tialys Chevalier Tialys is a small Gallivespian spy who appears in The Amber Spyglass in the service of Lord Asriel.
Tullio The brother of Angelica and Paolo, whom Lyra Belacqua meets in The Subtle Knife, Tullio attempts to steal the subtle knife from the rightful bearer but is bested by Will Parry in a fight.
Xaphania Xaphania was one of the original rebel angels and the one who first realized that the Authority was not a god. In The Amber Spyglass she sets about righting the problems caused by the warring factions and the use of the subtle knife.
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